If you want to share something sweet this Valentine’s Day there are a number of fantastic dessert wines you can try. I don’t drink a lot of dessert wine, but when I do I like to be adventurous and try new things.
Monbazillac is something that you probably haven’t had before, but you may want to give it a shot. It’s a wine produced from grapes effected by noble rot. When I first heard of noble rot, I didn’t know what to think. “Noble” sounds like a good thing, but “rot” does not sound so appealing. And grapes effected with this benign fungus look much more rotten than they look noble. In fact, if I came across grapes looking like this on my grape vines I’d be inclined to put on a pair of latex gloves that go up to my elbow to remove this contaminated-looking mess. Making wine from the grapes would not even cross my mind.
Image Source: WikiMedia Commons
Luckily, someone at some point in time decided to try making wine with these grapes and the results are spectacular. Noble rot removes much of the moisture from the grapes, this results in a high natural sugar level in the grapes which can be used to make concentrated sweet wines. These are also referred to as botrytized wines, named after botrytis (the fungus that causes noble rot.)
The most renowned botrytized wine is Sauternes, which is made from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes in the Sauternes region of France. Sauternes is often an exceptional wine, but it also tends to be rather pricey. Better deals can be found with wines from neighboring regions, such as Monbazillac. In a way, you can think of Monbazillac as a “poor man’s Sauternes.”
Monbazillac, like Sauternes, can be produced with different blends of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and/or Muscadelle. The blend in this Monbazillac from Grande Maison includes 35% Muscadelle, 50 % Semillon and 15% Sauvignon Blanc.
The first thing I notice about this wine is a somewhat grassy aroma. There is also a nutty quality along with some pear, lemon and mineral in the bouquet. The palate is apple, pear and soft peach with honey on the long and lingering finish.
This is a very nice dessert wine and only $10.59 for a 375ml bottle. I should note that many dessert wines come in smaller bottles and the prices are what you would expect to pay for a full size bottle of non-dessert wine. But you will typically consume a lot less of a dessert wine at one sitting than you would a table wine.
Wine: Grande Maison – Cuvee des Anges
Price: $10.59 (375ml)
Find Grande Maison Monbazillac with Snooth